ISBA Board reaffirms position against non-lawyer fee splitting and firm ownership
ISBA’s Board of Governors has adopted a resolution reaffirming its opposition to fee splitting with non-lawyers and the ownership of law firms by non-lawyers. Both issues are under active consideration by the ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 and could come before the ABA House of Delegates this August. ISBA leaders intend to introduce its resolution, along with support from other bars, at the same time.
President-elect John E. Thies presented the resolution at the March 9 meeting of the ISBA Board in Quincy. He noted that the proposed changes in the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct run counter not only to ISBA policy but also to ABA policy established in 2000 that stated: “The law governing lawyers that prohibits lawyers from sharing legal fees with non-lawyers and from directly or indirectly transferring to non-lawyers ownership or control over entities practicing law should not be revised.”
Earlier in 2000, ISBA’s Assembly adopted a report urging the ABA House to reject proposed changes to permit sharing of fees with non-lawyers and ownership of law firms by non-lawyers. That policy remains in effect.